This reinforces the walls and impedes moisture, giving homeowners a dryer, longer-lasting, and ultimately healthier basement. In this last group of projects, we had a number of very successful volunteer workdays parging with homeowners in their basements (and getting very messy with mortar!).
Critical home repairs are another huge part of WHRP. This where the more advanced construction skills come into play, and we’re very lucky to work with skilled volunteers who come out to help. On our most recent projects we replaced several old, drafty or broken windows with new vinyl double-paned windows with help from Tom Macintosh, a volunteer and former AmeriCorps member at Habitat who got lots of practice installing windows during his two years of service with us.
We also invite volunteer teams to help with repair projects! We recently replaced an old concrete patio in a homeowner’s backyard, which was pitched toward the house and funneled water into the basement during storms. We got out the pickaxes and sledgehammers, tore up the concrete, and replaced it with an appropriately graded concrete slab and drain.
It was a fantastic volunteer-powered project—a few days of hard work made a huge difference, and the homeowner was thrilled to finally have a dry basement!
Finally, WHRP updates and installs new safety equipment throughout the houses we work on. These include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor and a kitchen fire extinguisher. We also conduct a radon test and a lead paint test (if needed) to ensure that the homeowner is aware of any hazardous materials in their home. Besides reducing utility bills and making repairs, it’s crucial that families stay (and feel) safe in their homes.
As per the usual fast-paced Habitat schedule, we’re already accepting applications from homeowners for our next round of projects this Spring! Keep WHRP in mind as you’re looking for volunteer days, and please contact us directly at WHRP@habitatphiladelphia.org if you are skilled in electrical, plumbing, masonry, roofing, or carpentry work. We look forward to seeing you!